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Showing posts from 2016

Our New Learning Center Means Greater Success for Students

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As the clock nears 1pm a line starts to form outside the green metal learning center doors. The eager children chatter while they wait. Volunteers and ayudantes work swiftly to prepare the center for the afternoon sessions. Some volunteers are creating name tags for the children, cutting tan card stock into squares and writing down each child's name. Ayudantes Luis and Francisco set up the tablets and computers for the computer classes. Maria and Scarleth prepare to check in the children and let them choose their first learning station. The children can hardly contain their excitement and smile gleefully.


How it all beganThe idea for the learning center has been a long time in the making. Shortly after her first volunteer experience with La Esperanza Granada, Pauline realized there was a huge gap in the educational experience of Granada's children. During a brief return trip to Australia, she saw that many of the children there spent time learning in the home before and after …

Ayudante profile #3: Teodora

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This is the third in a series of profiles of our ayudantes. Ayudante means ‘assistant’, and is the name we give to the young people receiving university scholarships through La Esperanza Granada. Alongside their studies, the ayudantes are long term interns who give 5 hours of their time every weekday to support La Esperanza Granada. Our ayudantes are so much more than assistants – they are critical to our success. More information about our ayudante programme is available here.
When speaking with Teodora, it quickly becomes apparent that you are talking to a smart, determined young woman, confident of her direction in life. This is someone who is going somewhere.








Teodora is currently in her second year as an ayudante at La Esperanza Granada, supporting the teachers and volunteers in Pablo Antonio Cuadra school. Her first year was spent working with kids on computers in two schools, Nueva Esperanza and Escudo, and her desire to succeed and to see the kids progress has given her a firm pr…

Volunteer Teaching Techniques

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One of the most effective ways La Esperanza Granada volunteers are able to help is to focus attention on children who have fallen behind their peers. This blog aims to shine a spotlight on some of the best techniques our volunteers are currently using with these children.
Naomi and Margarita are both experienced professionals in their home countries. Naomi is a primary teacher in the UK who specialises in children with learning difficulties, whilst Margarita has many years experience of working with children with severe difficulties in the USA. They are part of our team of volunteers in Pablo Antonio Cuadra school, alongside volunteers Paula and Embla, and ayudantes Teodora and Ofelia.  
Both Naomi and Margarita agree that one of the major differences with their home countries is the lack of provision for children with learning difficulties in Nicaragua. They get no special services or additional resources, and there is often an expectation that they are not going to progress. 
Volunt…

Ayudante profile #2: Enoc

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This is the second in a series of profiles of our ayudantes. Ayudante means ‘assistant’, and is the name we give to the young people receiving university scholarships through La Esperanza Granada. Alongside their studies, the ayudantes are long term interns who give 5 hours of their time every weekday to support La Esperanza Granada. Our ayudantes are so much more than assistants – they are critical to our success. More information about our ayudante programme is available here.
Enoc is one of our newest ayudantes, and began his internship with La Esperanza Granada just 9 months ago. He is based in Mercedes Mondragon school, where he teaches English to the children alongside some of our international volunteers. This can be challenging, with classes routinely containing up to 35 children, but Enoc enjoys it. He cites one key factor to their success - teamwork.
“Everything about our work in the schools is done together. We plan our lessons together, and teach alongside each other. Even …

Ayudante profile #1: Juan Carlos

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This is the first in a series of profiles of our ayudantes. Ayudante means ‘assistant’, and is the name we give to the young people receiving university scholarships through La Esperanza Granada. Alongside their studies, the ayudantes are long term interns who give 5 hours of their time every weekday to support La Esperanza Granada. Our ayudantes are so much more than assistants – they are critical to our success. More information about our ayudante programme is available here.
Juan Carlos first heard of La Esperanza Granada when he was around 17 years old. He had always dreamed of going to university, and of the opportunities higher education would bring. But as a student at Pablo Antonio Cuadra (one of the schools where La Esperanza Granada is now most active), he had found his options limited.

“At that time, Pablo Antonio Cuadra was only able to offer three years of high school education, instead of the normal five. So after three years I had to move to technical college, where I st…

Volunteer Spotlight: Michel Antoine

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Spotlight Volunteer

1) Introduce yourself:

-What is your name? Michel Antoine -How old are you? I’m 26 -Where do you come from? New-York (U.S.A) -Why did you decide to do some volunteering? I wanted to help others who are less fortunate than myself. I wanted to make a difference. I also wanted to improve my Spanish. -What was your Spanish level before coming? My Spanish level was between intermediate and advanced. I feel that my Spanish has improved a little but it is still not where I want it.

2) What are you doing here in La Esperanza Granada?

- What job are you doing? (teacher,….) 1st grade teacher assistant - In which school? Nueva Esperanza - How many weeks are you staying here? 4 weeks -What are your first impressions (of the school, the children,…)? My first impressions were feelings of sadness based on all of the things that the children don’t have. The desks, books, pencils, erasers were all in very poor conditions; or there was a lack of these items. I also felt really excited to help out…

Student Spotlight 2!

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This time we had a nice conversation with Marta, a twelve year old kid attending the third grade in Nueva Esperanza school.
When she starts mentioning her family’s members the list seems endless: they are eight brothers and sisters and the ninth will be born in a month! Under the same steel roof, in this house in Pantanal Community, Marta is living with her parents, six brothers, (three older and three younger), a younger sister- nearly two-, a sister in law and a niece. Animals aren’t missing of course: three dogs, a rooster and some chickens complete the picture. “Yes, we are a lot! But sometimes we are even more when grandparents and uncles come to visit!” She keeps on smiling and the crowded atmosphere of her house doesn’t seem to bother her.
Her father works fixing electronic devices such as fans, mobile phones and televisions; the older brothers have a job as well: one of them makes and sells bracelets in La Calzada street, in the center of Granada, another one works in the coffe…

Student Spotlight!

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The very first Student Spotlight is on Raundy! Raundy is a 6 year old student at Escudo who has a reputation of being an excellent student. When we asked a teacher about a prized student, without hesitation, he quickly left and came back with Raundy who shows off the softest smile.
Raundy´s favorite subject is Spanish, and is sport fanatic who dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. Along with the dream of becoming an athlete, he hopes to become a carpenter like his dad.
Raundy is an only child in his family which consists of his Mom and Dad. In the small family, the positive influence that Raundy´s parents play in his life is undeniable and can be displayed in every aspect of his life. For example, Raundy grew up watching his dad work as a carpenter, which nurtured his dreams of also becoming a distinguished carpenter. And his mom is no less of an important figure either. She is a stay-at-home mom who acts as the most important teacher in Raundy´s life. Along with being i…

First Impressions of Nicaragua

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Katherine Currier is a volunteer traveling from the United States. She is spending 6 months as a volunteer with La Esperanza as a member of our English teaching teams.  Here´s what she had to say about her experience, five weeks in -I have really enjoyed my time thus far with La Esperanza, Granada. Some things I have noticed:1. Plastic bags are used in many different ways. I asked for a coca cola and received it in a plastic bag. 2. Since Granada is a small city, bicycles are an excellent mode of transportation. 3. There is an incredible amount of energy in the city especially in the kids and the marketplace.4. Working with the kids can be a crazy-making experience but it is tremendously satisfying when you make even a small connection with the them. 5. It feels great to be here.¡For the niños!





Village Walking Tours

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In the midst of poverty, the communities where La Esperanza volunteers work, are filled with hope. The community members work hard to make a basic living and raise their families.  
Every week, we offer tours where visitors to Granada can view the areas where our students grow up. On the tour we view Nueva Esperanza primary school, Nueva Esperanza secondary school, and the surrounding neighborhoods where we have built over 35 homes for families.
Many times, the greatest project ideas and fundraising efforts have begun after a person who has attended one of our tours heads back home and shares their photos and stories from the tour with their friends and family.     If you´ll be heading to Granada soon and looking for a productive way to spend one of your mornings during your time here, consider a village walking tour.  Just email the office with the date you´re hoping for at info@la-esperanza-granada.org



Summer Morning at Nueva Esperanza

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One of my roles as the Communications & Promotions Volunteer for La Esperanza is to visit the work sites and take photos of what might be going on.  Today was special in that there were so many different projects happening in the Nueva Esperanza community.   
First stop was to visit volunteers Bridget & Stefan (from Germany) and Peter (from the United Kingdom) who were building a new house for a family.  Every year, the students that have met their academic goals and have successfully kept up their attendance, get entered into a lottery to receive home repairs or a new home for their family.  The Sevilla Mercado family was one of the winners this summer. This family of four includes mother, father and two daughters.  One of the girls is in 5th grade at Nueva Esperanza and the other is enrolled in special education courses at Vicente Paul School.   When we visited, the family and their friends were helping the volunteers by laying concrete blocks and rolling wheelbarrows full of…

Interview with Volunteer Daniel Munns Entrevista con voluntario Daniel Munns

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Dan is originally from the United Kingdom but has lived in Korea and Mexico before arriving in Granada, Nicaragua.  He has volunteered in the office with La Esperanza for 3 months.  He answered inquiries of incoming volunteers and perfected his written Spanish through lots of translating of blogs, orientation information, and website posts. He´ll be heading back to Mexico at the end of this week.   
Dan es de Inglaterra pero ha vivido en Corea y Mexico antes de llegar a Granada, Nicaragua. Ha sido voluntario en la oficina de la Esperanza por 3 meses. Ha contestado muchos correos de nuevos voluntarios y ha mejorado su español escrito por traduciendo nuestro blog, información de orientación y las publicaciones de nuestra página web.
How did you find out about La Esperanza? Como encontraste sobre La Esperanza? A friend told me about the organisation in Mexico and then I looked it up and it sounded like a good place to work. I was working with another educational charity in Mexico before and …